My mom is visiting this weekend, and we went to Philadelphia for the day. First to the Franklin Institute, a hands-on science museum, but the main attraction there for me is the Planetarium. We walked through some of the exhibits while waiting for the sky show to begin; saw the gigantic train engine and the Folcault’s Pendulum. Kids were enjoying all the activities set up for them. The Planetarium show we caught was “Two Pieces of Glass,” about the development and discoveries of telescopes, from the first ones to Hubble. Unlike the Hayden Planetarium in New York, this one is more of a 3-D movie shown on the domed ceiling rather than projections of the stars from a massive projector. It was still great, and I have to say a much more effective 3-D experience than any I’ve seen in theaters, and without need for glasses. Something about the dome makes it work , I think.
Afterwards we had lunch in the cafeteria-style restaurant, and I got a few pictures in the foyer, including this one of a large and handsome Ben Franklin statue that dominates the space. Like the way the lighting came out.
About two blocks away was another favorite place, the bookstore connected to the Philadelphia Free Public Library. Not connected physically, but run as a fundraiser by the Friends of the Library. We spent about an hour there, and between us Ellen and I found about 15 books we wanted. One unusual find was a paperback by Lloyd Alexander I haven’t read, “The Arkadians,” which when I opened it proved to be autographed by the author, a long-time Philly resident. I don’t think the staff had noticed, and I didn’t point it out…
I had considered stopping at another bookstore, but we felt we’d bought enough and headed home. Good thing! We’d been watching the weather all week, and the prospect for snow had been decreasing from “snow showers” to “possible snow,” but on the way home we gradually entered a winter wonderland. The road crews seemed to have been caught off-guard, and nothing was salted or plowed, making for dangerous conditions. We passed four cars off the road, all being helped by someone, but stayed on it ourselves and slowly but steadily made our way home. Two inches on the ground at least. So much for “possible snow”!